Martin, Benjamin F. 1947- (Benjamin Franklin Martin, Jr.)

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Martin, Benjamin F. 1947- (Benjamin Franklin Martin, Jr.)


Born May 3, 1947, in Winston-Salem, NC; son of Benjamin Franklin (a physician) and Harvey Martin; married Judith Renaud (a librarian), May 20, 1972 (divorced, 1982); married Janis Kilduff (an attorney and art historian), July 26, 1982 (divorced, 1992). Ethnicity: "Caucasian." Education: Davidson College, A.B., 1969; University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Ph.D., 1974. Religion: Episcopalian.


Home—Baton Rouge, LA. Office—Department of History, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803. E-mail—[email protected]


University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, instructor in history, 1974-75; West Virginia Wesleyan College, Buckhannon, assistant professor, 1975-79, associate professor of history, 1979-83; Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, associate professor, 1983-86, professor of history, 1986-2007, Kathryn, Lewis, and Benjamin Price Professor of History, 2007—. Appeared in television documentaries including Crimes in Time: The Stolen Smile, In Search of History: The Infamous Dreyfus Affair, and Escape: Papillon, all broadcast by History channel; and in The Ultimate Ten Great Escapes, broadcast by the Learning Channel. Member of board of editors, French Historical Studies; consultant to Jewish Museum, New York, NY, and other organizations. Military service: U.S. Army Reserve, 1969-77; became captain.


Société Internationale d'Histoire de l'Affaire Dreyfus, American Historical Association, Society for French Historical Studies, Western Society for French History, Phi Beta Kappa.


Woodrow Wilson fellow, 1969; fellow of John Motley Morehead Foundation, 1969-74, Georges Lurcy Foundation, 1972-73, and National Endowment for the Humanities, 1977.


Count Albert de Mun: Paladin of the Third Republic, University of North Carolina Press (Chapel Hill, NC), 1978.

The Hypocrisy of Justice in the Belle Epoque, Louisiana State University Press (Baton Rouge, LA), 1984.

Crime and Criminal Justice under the Third Republic: The Shame of Marianne, Louisiana State University Press (Baton Rouge, LA), 1990.

France and the Après Guerre, 1918-1924: Illusions and Disillusionment, Louisiana State University Press (Baton Rouge, LA), 1999.

France in 1938, Louisiana State University Press (Baton Rouge, LA), 2005.

Contributor to history journals, including American Historical Review, French Politics and Society, Catholic Historical Review, Contemporary French Civilization, Journal of Interdisciplinary History, French Historical Studies, Journal of Modern History, New Leader, Third Republic, and Business History Review.


Benjamin F. Martin once told CA: "Because I had inspirational teachers of English composition, I was drawn to writing at an early age. Because I had inspirational teachers of French and of history, I chose to write about France. The fifty years in French history from 1890 to 1940 fascinate me. There are so many attractions: the Fin de Siècle, the Belle Epoque, the Dreyfus affair, World War I, the Après Guerre of the 1920s, the prologue to World War II in the 1930s, all replete with compelling figures in politics and culture. For a historian having even the slightest imagination, the number of subjects for books and articles about this period is almost limitless.

"Attracted to both narration and biography, I have given them pride of place in all my books. When combined with an emphasis on the small details of daily life sifted from the archives and the daily press, they permit an evocation of the past—to make its ghosts walk—that I consider the essence of writing history. I invite my readers to meet and assess with me the critical figures of the age, to follow along as speeches are delivered, politics played, crimes plotted, carried out, and investigated, lives lived, and society altered.

"In France and the Après Guerre, 1918-1924: Illusions and Disillusionment, I sought to clarify the illusions and disillusionment that were the basis of life in the half-decade that followed the awful destruction of property, lives, and futures in World War II." Martin later added: "In France in 1938 I sought to recreate the collective fear and melancholy of a single year when the Munich Conference revealed the terrors to come in a new war only two decades since the last one. I counted the ‘small change’ of the period to give it texture and to illuminate how choices, individual or national, petty or grand, self-deceptive or courageous, collectively defined a nation in crisis."